Central Student Government’s main purpose is to represent the student body, to gauge the needs of University students and work to implement beneficial changes. While current CSG leadership has been effective in bringing about change — such as working to implement a new football seating policy — its efforts have not encompassed the entirety of campus. The next leaders of CSG should strive to fairly incorporate traditionally unheard voices in student government in order to better represent all students at the University. Except for one party, most of the CSG presidential and vice presidential candidates are running on a platform that is either too vague or overly narrow to the point of being exclusionary. The Michigan Daily’s editorial board is endorsing FORUM candidates Carly Manes and Pavitra Abraham for CSG president and vice president because of their inclusive vision and their plan to empower students.
While Make Michigan candidates have solid experience in student government, their plans for the future do not fully address current campus concerns. Presidential candidate Bobby Dishell, a Public Policy junior, is currently serving as CSG vice president and vice presidential candidate Meagan Shokar, an LSA sophomore, is the CSG speaker of the assembly. Their proposed initiatives for next year focus primarily on improving the student experience through campus technology — namely the Michigan smartphone app — and mental health. While mental health is an issue that should be addressed by student government — and something FORUM should emphasize — there are other areas of campus life that deserve attention as well. Specifically, campus diversity, as proven by the #BBUM movement, is an issue the future student government should be concerned with. Bringing together the large campus community and ensuring every voice is heard should also be a major focus. Make Michigan’s past experience in student government may prove valuable, but its lack of a comprehensive vision is problematic.
Independent candidate Aristide Coumarbatch, an LSA senior, is running under the premise of setting a good example for other students, showing the importance of creating equality and implementing diversity. Coumarbatch decided to forgo the support of a party to demonstrate to students that running for CSG president is achievable by everyone. Having no affiliation with a previous party or experience as a representative, Coumarbatch is completely new to CSG. Though he stresses a “fight for change” and a need to “increase diversity,” Coumarbatch doesn’t offer any specific direction toward execution of these goals. With a lack of objective and no previous experience with the inner workings of the CSG, we’re uncertain as to what Coumarbatch would be able to successfully accomplish.
From the Defend Affirmative Action Party, LSA sophomore Mical Holt and LSA freshman Taylor Jones are running for CSG president and vice president. The party offers a strong vision for improving the climate around social justice on campus and should be commended for its initiative in tackling one of the University’s most pressing issues. Whichever party is elected should strive to increase underrepresented minority enrollment and serve as advocates for affirmative action should the opportunity arise. Especially in light of recent campus events, the goals of DAAP deserve recognition from CSG. However, as a single-issue party, DAAP’s focus is too narrow to fully serve the needs of the entire student body.
Capitalizing on the noticeable lack of student engagement with CSG, the Party Party has established itself as a new alternative. Unfortunately, the Party Party has no tangible initiatives to support its unique approach. The party has said that expressing specific goals contradicts the notion that the student body should direct CSG action. While this philosophy is admirable, the Party Party’s lack of concrete goals is concerning and begs the question of what exactly LSA junior Ryan Hayes and Business junior Brennan Woods — the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates — would do if elected. Their call for increased attention to student engagement is certainly warranted, but CSG needs a leader with a concrete vision to improve the school.
FORUM presidential candidate Carly Manes is a Public Policy junior who has held leadership positions in multiple student organizations on campus and has served on LSA Student Government as a freshman and sophomore. Vice presidential candidate Pavitra Abraham is also in her junior year in LSA and is experienced in working as a community organizer on campus. FORUM’s goal of creating a student position on the University’s Board of Regents is indicative of the party’s main focus of improving student representation. FORUM has prioritized students’ voices by pushing an outreach agenda to bring campus perspectives together. In addition to an idealistic vision, Manes and Abraham have specific proposals aimed at improving student life. A bus route to local grocery stores and a SafeRide app to ensure student safety will benefit all of campus. While such an ambitious agenda may seem overwhelming, FORUM’s plan to empower passionate students in specific fields is a smart and inclusive strategy.
This year, The Michigan Daily’s editorial board endorses FORUM candidates CARLY MANES and PAVITRA ABRAHAM for CSG president and vice president.